A solar panel installation project on Centre College’s campus has gotten a big boost. The plan that started with a $10,000 grant from PepsiCo Recycling’s Zero Impact Fund (ZIF) has expanded from a “phased” project with an initial 5 kW capacity, to an array of 60 panels with nearly 20 kW of capacity thanks to the generosity and dedication of the Centre community. The on-site solar photovoltaic system was installed on the Chowan Multipurpose Building, covering a portion of the south-facing roof.
Centre is one of eight schools selected nationally to receive funding through ZIF, a program designed to help bring campus eco-innovations to life. The ZIF funds alone would have supported the installation of 15-20 panels. But since the award was announced in March, additional contributions to the project have come from the Student Government Association (SGA) and the President’s Office. In addition, a GiveCampus crowdfunding campaign organized by Jacky Thomas Seaver ’02, director of donor relations and stewardship, realized an additional $3,800. Together, these added funds provided the means to expand the project to 60 panels, with eventual planned growth to 120.
Zach Schmucker ’18, who submitted the application for ZIF funding, has continued to spearhead the project and was able to return to campus to see his efforts become a reality.
“It’s an awesome feeling to see this project come to life,” Schmucker says. “I am so excited to help Centre get closer to its goal of becoming carbon neutral. I could not have done it without all of the generosity from Pepsico, President Roush, the alumni, the faculty, and SGA.”
Other students deeply involved in this campaign are Caitlin Yockey ’17, former treasurer of Centre Environmental Association; Sarah Hutchinson ’17, former president of SGA; and John Paul Dyar ’19 of the SGA campus improvement committee.
Kentucky’s Solar Energy Solutions was in charge of the installation, and Erik Meyerhoffer ’05, who has a master’s degree in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver, returned to campus to head-up the project.
“As an alum, I consider it a privilege to be part of the install,” Meyerhoffer says. “To be a part of the sustainability discussion and interact with faculty and students is a real honor.”
by Cindy Long
July 25, 2017